Joan (Kirchgessner) Higuchi, an RN and frequently published poet from Long Island New York was awarded first prize in a category of The Writer's Digest contest shortly after she resumed writing after her retirement twenty-five years ago. Her work had originally been published while she was a student, but was deferred while she and her husband Paul raised their two daughters and she pursued her career. She additionally won the "Miracles" competition sponsored by the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association and successive top prizes in the Performance Poets Association contests. Publication of a collection related to her experiences in the field of Mental Health is in process and her first chapbook of nature poems, "A World of Small Things Singing" (Finishing Line Press) is available on Amazon.com.
No swatches for displacing dust
or remnants meant
to swab up globs of paint
the rags we fancied effervesced
commanded by extent
of feet that barely met the pedals.
Our fingers tried to catch the keys
that spilled out tunes decreed
when prompted by the tiny holes
of upright’s semi-automated feed
from stacked up paper roles.
They strutted with a taint
of decadence unlike the quaint
old-fashioned tunes, hot swing
or blues with blowsy hint
but nothing else
could set hands hoppin'
like the syncopated
rhythms of ol' Scott Joplin.
Originally Published by Long Island Quarterly
(in honor of George Enescu)
Let’s play again that rhapsody
that starts with tingling trill
the one that lures me to find
a place where Gypsies camp
there I shall fling myself
in frenzied dance
to the throbbing of violins
skirts flashing flame colored
ruffles above my bare legs
tousled hair, radiant
in the fire’s glow
my wanton glance
inviting you to dare to try
to kiss my naked toes.
Originally published by Long Island Sounds
A tribute to Marianne Kirchgessner
“Th’ Armonica shall join the sacred choir…
strike with celestial ravishment the ear.”
Nathan Hale (1763)
The ancient Persians knew the thread
of music from glass could weave spells.
Ben Franklin caught attention
of the Europeans playing the instrument
he invented with sheen of sound,
produced from nested blown-glass bowls
strung on a spindle
especially its queen, who learned to play
as did young Marianne, whose fame
led her around the continent
despite her blindness from the age of three.
Mozart, on hearing her, composed
Adagio and Rhondo for Armonica
just months before he died—
while Dr. Messmer, with flowing
robe and wand, hypnotized by use
of its magnetic force.
The Glass Armonica
blamed for damage done to nerves,
maladies of blood, domestic feuds,
weak children and unhealthy pets
was banned in Germany.
Was it the silver song it spun
or lead within those goblets
formed by fire that poisoned
as payment for distinguished skill?
Marianne was not immune
to its seductive treachery.
She left no heirs, though
since we share a family name
I’ll claim her for my own.